Symposium Probes Next Generation Student Assessment

INNOVATIONS IN TESTING TECHNOLOGY FOR CANADIAN SCHOOLS, a national symposium on the future of student assessment has attracted a cross-section of senior educators, researchers and corporate representatives to Victoria this week.

Convened by the TASA Institute, a specialized research arm of the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education, the symposium concept and keynote are based on the findings and recommendations from A Future in the Process of Arrival: Using Computer Technologies for the Assessment of Student learning, a recently released 2005 study by leading assessment expert, Dr. Alan R. Taylor. Taylor reports that “the application of computer technologies for formative assessment is the fastest growing component of the testing industry.” He urges school districts and schools to “develop a plan to utilize computer technologies for formative assessment to more effectively incorporate use of recent innovative software products into the learning sequence.”

The program showcases online assessment pilots from Alberta Education and the BC Ministry of Education, as well as Stanley Rabinowitz of WestEd Regional Education Lab who will highlight leading-edge US developments and issues, Michael Hussey of Pearson Educational Measurement profiling Pearson’s Progress Assessment Series: Measuring & Forecasting Student Growth, and Kathryn Barker of FuturEd on E-Portfolio Design and Management and others.

“The transition from conventional to virtual testing poses tremendous challenges and opportunities for school systems. Combining experts in the field with policy makers, system administrators and industry partners through dialogue at this conference offers an effective forum for researchers and field practitioners to unite in creating appropriate technologically assisted assessment practices,” notes SAEE Executive Director, Nancy Wells.

The symposium is sponsored by Max Bell Foundation, Donner Canadian Foundation, Pearson Educational Measurement, Fujitisu, aal, and E-Traffic Solutions. Complete conference information including program, presenter papers, the Taylor report and information on the TASA Institute are available at